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Do you worry about the latest reports of as much 8.2 million property crimes in the US alone? Learn the 15 tips to secure your home from burglars when you’re away.

According to a recent FBI report on burglary cases, around 4 crimes happen every minute in the US alone. This translates to burglaries occurring every 15 seconds! With the alarming crime statistics, how do you plan to better protect your home while you’re away? For starters, it’s crucial that you’re aware of how a burglar’s mind works. Did you know that most burglars stop at their misdeed when they sense you’re serious about securing your home? Thinking like a burglar for a moment puts you in a better position to understand how to establish a security plan to effectively deter burglars. Read on to learn 15 effective tips so you can secure your home and family even when you’re away.

1. Remove Your Name on the Mailbox

We’re talking about the actual mailbox outside your home, which burglars use to know your name and search information about you online. Taking your name off your mailbox prevents break-ins because you are making it difficult for burglars to know anything about your identity.

2. Clear Your Front Door

Another giveaway for burglars is the pile of mail in your mailbox or front door. Make sure you clear your exteriors of anything burglars may use to gather information about you and your whereabouts. You can take action by having services such as newspaper and mail stopped while you’re out of town. Or, better yet, having a friend or neighbor that you trust pick those things up for you and look after your place while you are gone.

3. Befriend Your NeighborFostering good ties with your neighbors will result in a good number of security benefits, including having an extra pair of watchful eyes for home security. If you’re new in the neighborhood, going door to door to introduce yourself (ideally with something like a nice batch of cookies) can be a start of good relations. Building strong relationships with your neighbors can be critical to preventing and stopping burglaries in your home. If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, they will be more likely to respond to suspicious activity around your home. Not only that, but you can let them know when you will be out of town so that they can keep an extra watchful eye for you.

4. Make Your Neighborhood Alert

Being in friendly terms with your neighbors makes it easy for you to organize them. Initiate a neighborhood meeting to discuss your home security concerns. Meetings should tick two boxes: make it fun and purposeful. A holiday party or Sunday barbeque can be convenient occasions to establish crime prevention practices you and your neighbors can collectively commit to. Putting up neighborhood watch signs can not only increase awareness in your neighborhood so that people will act proactively, but they could also help deter criminals.

5. Alert Your Local Law Enforcement

By all means enjoy your time away from home, but don’t forget to secure your house first. Inform your local law enforcers about your trip so they can be extra alert. This is especially true in small towns. But it’s always possible that the police will make a patrol by your home every so often to check on it. Given their experience with crime prevention, they can also suggest ways for better protection.

6. Reinforce Security with Wireless SurveillanceInvest in something you and your family can benefit from year-round: a wireless burglar alarm monitoring system. With many neighborhoods becoming more vulnerable to crimes, having an alarm system is one of the best and inexpensive buys for your home and family. Reliable alarm systems only cost a few hundred dollars. The maintenance costs can be nearly nothing if you are fully self-monitoring. Central station monitoring and other features can increase the ongoing costs, but are usually well worth the cost.

7. Secure Your Backyard with Motion Sensor Activated Lighting

How nice and relaxing a house can be with great lighting design. But why not illuminate your house with security lights as well? It’s common to have motion sensor lights installed on the front door, but don’t forget about your backyard so all bases are covered. Motion sensor activated lights are fantastic in bolstering an alarm system, working synergistically to further protect your home. Choose those with energy efficient bulbs and with adjustable sensitivity to avoid false alarms.

8. Strategically Set up Security Cameras

Strategic placement of security cameras is one of the best tips to secure your home when you’re away. Consider having cameras with wireless capability as they are easier to install and are more effective tools to keep your children safe at home. Having security cameras allows you to conveniently monitor your kids and their caretaker when you’re out at work or on a long business trip.

9. Hide Boxes of Expensive ItemsIt’s alright to splurge every now and then, but wait for garbage day until you throw out boxes of expensive items. Leaving the boxes of big-ticket items in your outdoor trash allows burglars to know about the great loot inside your home.

10. Close the Blinds

Some homeowners make their interior decor visible from the outside. While this can be good idea when you’re throwing a party, make sure to close the blinds when you’re not home to prevent burglars from peering into your window and knowing what or who is inside your home.

11. Make Your Presence Felt Even When Away

Prevent burglars from knowing you’re not home with indoor lights or sounds on timer. The sound and light coming from, say, a lamp or radio, will make it seem like someone is home. It’s also a great idea to turn down the volume of your telephone ringer, so burglars won’t know you’re away.

12. Don’t Overshare on Social MediaDo you know that 78% of burglars use social media to get information on potential victims? This prompted experts to warn homeowners against compromising their home security by divulging too much information on social media. Resist the temptation of posting vacation photos when you’re away. Wait until you’re back home before posting something about the great vacation you had. Also, check your privacy settings and make sure the location services on your phone are controlled.

13. Arm Yourself with Knowledge on Crime Trends

The saying “knowledge is power” is worth remembering when planning on how to make your home safe from burglars. Despite your busy schedule, make yourself one step ahead of them with your knowledge on crime trends. Community sites like SpotCrime are useful because you can receive crime alerts through your smartphone, email, and social media accounts.

14. Don’t Forget about Basic Security Improvements

The hustle and bustle can make you forget about basic security improvements. Remember that oftentimes it’s the simple practical measures that can make or break your home security. Some of the things to consider include ensuring windows and doors are sturdy enough to withstand excessive force, and trimming your shrubs to prevent burglars from hiding there. Also, don’t forget about securing doors and windows with extra locks to discourage prying.

15. Park Your Car ProperlyWhen away for vacation or work, don’t forget about what’s outside your home—your car, for example. Parking your car in the driveway or side street, instead of the indoor garage, can be a welcome invitation for auto theft masters. If your home doesn’t have a garage, consider using anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks, car alarms, and immobilizers. Burglars can feel more brazen to break in when they sense nobody’s home.

Don’t let your time away from home be filled with worry about burglaries. Aside by employing already known practical ways to prevent break-ins, effectively secure your home with the tips above. With these pointers, you can relax with family or focus at work even when you’re away from home.

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